Robin Hood (Saturday 6.55pm, BBC1)
Ooh, an all girl gang of Saracen assassins arrives in Sherwood. Cool! After last week’s gunpowder plot, Robin Hood, clearly giddy from the excitement of having a second series commissioned, just gets ever so slightly sillier this week. 10 episodes in, and the show has, thankfully, become all the more enjoyable for it. However, disappointment reigns on the realisation that the assassins aren’t played by Girls Aloud (but then, we can’t have everything, can we?).
Strictly Come Dancing/The X Factor (Saturday 5.40pm/6.30pm BBC1/ITV1)
These shows are becoming like a mountaineer’s reason for climbing a dangerous mountain – just because it’s there. But, if Emma Bunton gets voted off Strictly, or Ben is booted out of The X Factor, the TV Today boys (well, me, Scott and Liz) will be going round to have a word…
Extinct (Saturday 7.30pm, ITV1)
Extinct is like a wildlife version of Our Song, with lots of heartstring tugging music played over slow montages of pandas being all cute, making those big old eyes at the camera. But at its heart, Extinct has noble intentions, with celebs heading out into the threatened habitats of some of the planet’s rapidly disappearing species. David Suchet gets the pandas this week, and it really is rather moving despite the schmaltz. Meanwhile, back in the studio, Zoe Ball and Sir Trevor McDonald drum up donations from the public, and there’s also a vote to see which animals will get the most support from the WWF. Blimey, it’s a bit like Restoration…
Sports Personality of the Year (Sunday 7pm, BBC1)
Sport doesn’t tend to fall under the steely gaze of TV Today, but Sports Personality of the Year is a television institution. This year, for the first time in its 50-year plus history, the show is being transmitted live in front of a large audience at the NEC. The best thing about SPOTY (well, it was to the seven-year-old me) is that you know you’re on the home straight to Christmas on the Sunday this goes out. TV Today hero Adrian Chiles presents.
Housewife, 49 (Sunday 9pm, BBC1)
Victoria Wood ditches the macaroons and the witty ditties for this sobering piece of drama that shows more than adequately that ITV can still put out some decent drama once in while. Wood is Nella Last, a housewife in the early stages of World War II who is recovering from a nervous breakdown. She is trapped in a decaying marriage, but finds a voice by taking part in the Mass Observation Programme instigated by the government (in other words, she keeps a diary). Wood, as always, is excellent, and with a cast that includes David Threlfall and Stephanie Cole, there’s talent aplenty here. Period drama doesn’t come much better.